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May 09, 2014 - Rachel Miller

Non-Scottish firms 'against independence'

Non-Scottish firms 'against independence'The majority of UK businesses outside Scotland want Scotland to remain part of the UK. That's the headline finding of a survey conducted by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC).

The BCC polled 2,400 members in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to assess attitudes to Scottish independence by businesses in the rest of the UK. The results show that 85% of respondents want Scotland to remain within the UK. Just 11% of firms said that Scotland should become an independent country.

The BCC's sister organisation, the Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC), has also published a survey of Scottish businesses. It found that businesses in Scotland are more than twice as likely to expect to change their strategy (49%) than those in the rest of the UK (20%) if Scotland becomes independent.

In the event of a "no" vote, 68% of Scottish businesses would like to see more powers given to the Scottish Parliament, compared with 25% of businesses in the rest of the UK.

Outside of Scotland, the BCC survey found that 63% of firms say no new opportunities would arise for their businesses if Scotland votes for independence. And only 6% of companies believe that potential tax savings would be an opportunity for their business.

Just over one third of BCC members (35%) believe a formal currency union would be in the best interests of the UK if Scotland became independent. 28% said Scotland should create its own currency if it votes for independence, 18% said it should join the Euro, and 8% said it should retain Sterling but not join a formal currency union.

John Longworth, BCC director general, said: "Businesses in England, Wales and Northern Ireland remain less than captivated by the intense debate unfolding north of the border. Yet they do have views on the potential impacts of a change in Scotland's relationship with the rest of the UK. In the event of a 'yes' vote, cross-border trading and currency arrangements loom large in businesses' thinking. If Scotland votes 'no', constitutional questions remain around the devolution of power and the distribution of public funding between nations."

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